How to Clean an Air Filter

Hand removing cabin air filter


Your car’s cabin air filter is critical to the performance of your car’s HVAC system and personal comfort while driving. The cabin air filter keeps the air you breathe clean. This is especially important if you or your family have allergies or asthma. A clean air filter will keep you comfortable and protected from outside irritants while you’re driving around Taylor. The service team at Nyle Maxwell CDJR of Taylor can help you keep fresh air in your car and teach you how to clean your air filter! Review our guide below, and then learn more about caring for your can with our other service tips and tricks that cover topics like how to check your tire tread depth

How to Clean an Air Filter in 7 Steps

  1. Remove the Air Filter: Check your car’s manual to find the location of the air filters. They are often enclosed in a casing, so keep a screwdriver nearby to remove any screws that may be holding the filter in. With the engine off, carefully remove the air filter from its casing. Avoid shaking any dirt off the filter and into the holding compartment during removal.
  2. Brush off Dirt and Debris: Now that the air filter has been removed, gently shake off dirt and debris into a trash can. You may want to wear a mask to avoid breathing in particulate matter.
  3. Remove Fine Particles: Once loose dirt has been removed, vacuum the filter using a handheld vacuum to remove the more ingrained debris and fine particles.
  4. Use an Air Filter Cleaner: After you have removed as much dirt and debris manually, you can use a liquid air filter cleaner (following manufacturer instructions) to deep clean the air filter. Alternatively, you can make a cleaning solution using water and laundry detergent in a 2:1 ratio. Whichever cleaner you use, allow it to sit for a few minutes before proceeding.
  5. Scrub the Filter: Using a small brush (such as a toothbrush), gently scrub the air filter all over and along the edges.
  6. Rinse & Dry: Rinse the air filter with clean water thoroughly and shake out excess water. Hang the filter upside-down and allow it to air dry. Air drying the filter is the best drying method. Heating methods, such as a hairdryer, are not recommended and may damage the filter.
  7. Replace the Filter: Once your air filter is cleaned and fully dried, place it back in its housing and reassemble the unit.

Does Cabin Air Filter Affect AC & Air Quality?

So, does the cabin air filter affect the AC? Yes, cabin air filters protect the driver and passenger from outside dust, bugs, pollen, and smoke that may be in the air. The air conditioner also flows through the cabin air filter before reaching the interior of the car. A dirty cabin air filter can slow down airflow and prevent your AC from cooling the inside of the car efficiently. Eventually, as your air conditioner and air quality worsen, the entire circulation system in the car may be affected. Avoid large car repair costs and check your filters regularly!

Get More Car Care Tips from Nyle Maxwell CDJR of Taylor

While you can follow these simple steps on how to clean an air filter at home on your own time, the service department is also available in Taylor if you would prefer a professional cleaning. Our parts department also offers replacement filters if you’re in need of one. 


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